Stafford at heart of Middlesex triumph
Micky Stafford starred with bat and ball as Middlesex completed a 10-wicket demolition of Oxfordshire in the ECB 50+ County Championship final at Wormsley.
Man of the match Stafford’s unbeaten 112 underpinned a faultless pursuit of 197 with four of the allotted 45 overs to spare.
He earlier picked up 4-47 from nine overs to help limit Oxfordshire to 196 for seven.
After choosing to field, Middlesex reduced their opponents to 62 for two courtesy of impressive seam bowling from Neil Stevens in particular.
Alec Cunningham’s unbeaten 74 steadied the ship, but scoring was slow as overs 10 to 20 produced only 25 runs.
Having added 68 for the third wicket with Tony Munsey, Cunningham failed to find reliable partners as all the Middlesex bowlers produced tight lines and Stafford varied his pace to good effect.
Middlesex’s only setback came when wicketkeeper David Littlewood had to leave the field with a damaged nose, having taken a ball in the face via the top of the stumps.
With the need for quick runs growing in the last 10 overs, Stafford ripped through the middle order with five wickets falling for 28.
Middlesex began their reply at a similarly sedate pace with Oxfordshire’s opening bowlers miserly in length and width.
But Littlewood and Stafford provided a solid start and were in front of the run rate by a small margin, until the 30th over when the push for victory came.
They plundered 35 in five overs as Stafford pressed home the advantage and went quickly to his century
Middlesex deservedly won the trophy in the name of and presented by Brian Aspital, the former National Cricket Association secretary, who has always been keen to promote cricket to all ages and especially the modern 50-year-olds who are fitter than ever before.